The Enforcement Directorate has arrested former TMC MP and businessman Kanwar Deep Singh in a money laundering case linked to an alleged Rs 1,900-crore ponzi scheme fraud, official sources said on Wednesday. The agency charged the 59-year-old founder of Alchemist Ltd. with non-cooperation in the investigation and arrested him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Tuesday night.He was produced before a court here which sent him to the ED custody till January 16, they said.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Singh, a former Rajya Sabha member of the party, is stated to be not involved in the party affairs for quite some time. The central probe agency had carried out searches at the premises of Singh and those linked to him in Delhi and Chandigarh in September, 2019 and had seized cash of Rs 32 lakh and USD 10,000 then.
The businessman was the chairman of Alchemist Ltd., which deals in pharmaceuticals and other sectors, before he resigned in 2012. He is stated to be the Chairman Emeritus and founder of the business group at present. The ED is probing him as part of two money laundering cases and has questioned him in the past as well.
The instant case against the former MP and a firm linked to him — Alchemist Infra Realty Limited — dates back to September, 2016 when the ED filed a criminal case under the PMLA taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed against the company, its directors and others by SEBI.
The alleged scam is stated to be about Rs 1,900 crore and the agency had attached assets worth Rs 239 crore of Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd in 2019. It has been alleged by investigators that the company launched an illegal collective investment scheme, also called a ponzi or chit fund scheme, and mobilised funds of about Rs 1,916 crore from the public in the years preceding 2015.
The second money laundering case against him and others is based on an FIR filed by the Kolkata Police. In this criminal case initiated in 2018, the Kolkata Police had booked Singh, his son Karandeep Singh, Alchemist Township India Limited, Alchemist Holdings Limited and various other group companies and directors for cheating thousands of customers.
“Singh through companies raised huge amount of money from thousands of customers in the garb of investments by luring them with high returns and also against sale and booking of plots and flats.” “So far, investigation has revealed that these funds raised from public were not used for the intended purpose and were diverted or siphoned off to various group companies,” the agency had alleged.
Money so collected from the innocent public, it had said, has been transferred in a circular manner in order to conceal and layer in a “fraudulent” manner. “Further, various web of entities involved in this process are having dummy directors. These directors have no idea to state the purpose for which the said money was being collected and transferred,” the ED had said.
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